Opinion

Serie A Stars Set Sights on Gold Cup Glory

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The list of domestic Serie A players attending this year’s CONCACAF Gold is slimmer than ever. However, there are a few key players with their sights set on Gold Cup glory.

Today we’ll look at the Italian league’s topflight stars who’re hunting for glory and look closer at the key absences of those not competing in the competition this year.

Johan Vasquez (Mexico)

Mexican players under contract with the Serie A own the strongest presence at this year’s Gold Cup, but the tally of players flying from Italy is just two.

 Johan Vasquez joined Genoa on a season-long loan during the 2021-22 season. The center-back made 28 appearances in 2022 but was loaned to Serie A side Cremonese last term.

This Mexican defender has just 11 caps for Mexico but has youth experience playing on the international stage, where he collected a bronze at the 2019 Pan American games and also was a part of the 2020 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship squad – a competition that Mexico won. A

Aged just 24, there’s a lot of room for improvement. He was called up for the 2023 Gold Cup by manager Cocca – before Jaime Lozano replaced the coach.

empoli fc v salernitana serie a

Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)

With the likes of Guillermo Ochoa between the sticks for Mexico, he brings invaluable experience to the table with five World Cup appearances and two Golden Glove awards. He’s the most capped goalkeeper in the history of the national side. He has already experienced the moment of winning a Gold Cup with Mexico and holds a record with the nation for most Gold Cup appearances.  

Ochoa joined Serie A team Salernitana in 2022 and was named the club’s ‘Player of the Season’ this past season. His heroics in the Italian domestic league ensured Salernitana avoided relegation, and there has since been interest from Inter and AC Milan. He’s a crucial part of the Mexican squad and is always worth backing at the sportsbooks to assist his nation in a clean sheet.

According to US online sports betting experts in soccer, the Gold Cup will be an excellent opportunity to scout the individual performances of each of these players. In addition, these tournaments help players to increase their market value before the season begins.

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Missing: Hirving Lozano (Mexico)

Mexico will be without the services of Napoli’s Hirving Lozano at this year’s Gold Cup. The standout striker is nursing a knee injury suffered on May 7, and while he won’t have the opportunity to add a Gold Cup trophy to his cabinet, he still has the Serie A 2022/23 title back home.

Andreaw Gravillon (Guadeloupe)

Centre-back Andrew Gravillon signed for Torino on loan earlier this year, and missed most of the season. The Granata had an option to make the deal permanent but so far they’ve declined to exercise it. His youth career was spent at Inter, so he’s no stranger to Italian football.

As a Guadeloupian national, his international career has delivered just four caps. His debut game, however, was a 2-1 win over Cuba valid for the 2022/23 CONCACAF Nations League.

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Missing: Weston McKennie & Sergino Dest (USMNT)

Two of the most noteworthy players from the United States of America that currently reside on Italian soil are absent from the 2023 Gold Cup – Juventus’ Weston McKennie and A.C. Milan’s Sergino Dest.

During an altercation at the Nations League semi-final versus Mexico, the USMNT was handed multiple suspensions from CONCACAF. Both McKennie and Dest were recipients of a three-match ban.

Despite the ban, McKennie and Dest weren’t selected for the Gold Cup squad, as the reasons behind the USMNT squad selection were unknown. However, both suspensions will be served throughout the course of the tournament, albeit with their names not placed on the original roster.

Missing: Gregoire Defrel (Martinique)

Serie A veteran Gregoire Defrel has competed all over Italy. With a professional career that started with Parma, he’s also played for Foggia, Cesena, Sassuolo, Roma, and Sampdoria. As of 2020, he returned to Sassuolo, where he’s made 85 appearances.

For reasons unknown, a struggling Martinique squad has never utilized the services of this well-experienced player. Defrel was named for the 2019 Gold Cup squad but was later dropped and hasn’t returned to compete for his nation since. 

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